Italian Easter Bread
For the Bread
3 cups Plain Flour
The rind of 1 orange
½ cup Caster Sugar
1 7g sachet dried yeast
1 egg + 1 egg yolk at room temperature
1 egg lightly whisked (for Glazing)
A pinch Salt
1 tsp vanilla essence
100 g butter cubed
Spray oil or butter to grease
For the Filling
The rind of 1 lemon
1 Tbsp Manuka Honey
100g each of hazelnuts and walnuts lightly toasted
50 g pine nuts toasted
½ cup port wine
1 cup Sultanas
80 g Savoiardi sponge finger biscuits
2Tbsp Cocoa Powder
1 tsp Cinnamon
1. Combine the flour, yeast, salt and sugar in a large bowl, making a well in the centre. Whisk the whole egg with the extra egg yolk, vanilla essence and orange rind and add to the well in the flour.
2. In a small saucepan slowly heat the butter until melted and add the milk stir until combined and just warmed. Take off the heat and add to the flour and egg mixture.
3. Mix, starting with a wooden spoon and then with the hands to incorporate all the ingredients into a soft dough. Turn onto a floured surface and knead for 10-15 minutes by hand or place in an electric mixer with a dough hook (my preferred method) for around 8 minutes.
4. Lightly grease a large bowl with the oil or melted butter and grease the dough. Place in the bowl, cover and put in a warm spot to proof for 1-2 hours or until doubled in size.
5. Finely chop the toasted nuts and chop the sponge fingers until they are a similar size to the nuts. In a saucepan place the port and sultanas and heat until just under a simmer, then set aside to cool.
6. Add the Cocoa, cinnamon, lemon rind, cooled sultanas and honey to the nuts and mix until you have a paste like consistency.
7. When the dough has almost finished proofing, preheat the oven to 180 C and grease a 20cm cake pan with melted butter.
8. Turn out the dough, again onto a floured surface and knead for a couple of minutes. Roll the dough into a rectangle approximately 40-50cm long and 30 cm wide. This might take a while as it is very elastic. Be persistent.
9. Spread the filling evenly over the dough, leaving a border of 2cm all the way around. Roll the long side of the dough inwards and once rolled all the way up, pinch each end to seal.
10. Gently place it like a snail shaped coil into the greased pan. Cover again with glad wrap and let it sit in a warm place for at least another hour or until it is about 1/3 bigger in size.
11. After the 2nd proof, brush with the extra beaten egg and bake in the preheated oven for around 20 minutes. Reduce the temperature by 20 C TO 160 and cook for another 35 minutes or until browned.
12. Allow to cool in the pan for about ten minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool.